The truth will set you free, it’s true. But it’s also freedom that will bring you truth.
If you come to know just how far we reached when performing our part in the national discourse in the past, you would also wonder what happened to hush the voices of the DLSU-D community now. Back then, our University never shied away from engaging in advocacies that encouraged critical thinking and immersion in national issues—much has changed in the activism and passivity of our school since then. Even so, while it’s not directly your fault, it doesn’t have to be your fault to be your responsibility.
It doesn’t have to be your fault to be your responsibility.
Little do Lasallians know, 15 years ago, the University Student Council (USC) launched a campus-wide Anti-Passivity Campaign that aimed to boost awareness among students. The participating sectors were led by several organizations such as the Performing Arts Group (PAG), Military Training Services, University varsities, University Student Council Commission on Elections (USCCE, now SCE), Council of Student Organizations (CSO), and all student councils.
The campaign was simple, but this is the kind of movement that builds an atmosphere free of apathy and a strong culture of free-thinking vocal Lasallians. The same programs from the University’s leaders are what we need today in our community, recognizing the reality that the society’s danger is when the youth stop asking questions.
We don’t need to shake the coordinates of reality all at once; it is enough to reasonably question what violates morals and cancels rights one injustice at a time. In the news article STAND-LaSalle protests against anti-pregnant student policy in The Heraldo Filipino Broadsheet Vol. 16 No. 4, STAND-LaSalle spokesperson Kristian Sumabat stated that reconsideration of such policy was a “slap in the face” coming from a group “promoting compassion and open-mindedness in the academe.” That was when the Student Alliance for the Advancement of Democratic Rights La Salle Cavite (STAND-LaSalle) joined a multi-sectoral movement along with other youth organizations in Cavite to call out the anti-pregnant student policy back in 2001.
From the lessons of the past, we should learn that it is not wrong to fight for our rights as students and voice out when we feel violated. Sadly, now, the number of students who try to question the administration about certain changes, like tuition fee hikes, is only a few and far between.
However, we can’t blame the careful majority who’d rather not engage in (peaceful) acts of protest when the opposition can look like nothing but madness to those who think students should ideally focus only their studies. Proving this is how University of the Philippines students are now attacked online for their passionate rallies about national issues, like the Duterte administration—simply because people fail to grasp the purpose of their fight in the first place.
Likewise, in 2000, according to the article in the Heraldo Filipino Broadsheet Vol. 15 No. 4 titled DLSU-D calls for Erap’s resignation, DLSU-D joined the Oust Erap rally in Liwasang Bonifacio and Mendiola, headed by the incumbent deans, administration personnel, discipline officers, student-journalists, and regular students. The act was to shout La Salle’s official stand in the national political crisis as Lasallians believed that then president Joseph Estrada had “lost his moral ascendancy to govern.”
These were not all, but just some of stories to prove DLSU-D’s significant involvement to its own community and the nation. As a part of this community, unless you’re comfortable with the current lullaby of our blameless silence, we shouldn’t forget the strong, sensible, and vocal force we once were—and can one day be.
The students activists who once proudly roamed our school have long been gone from campus, but that doesn’t mean their mission is too. The ball is in our court—it is now our responsibility to bring back the forthright Lasallians we used to be. And that will only happen if we care to know, ask, and fight—just like they did.